In This Issue
Upcoming Events
Message from Jessi
Bagels & Books
POWER Update
ALLIES Campaign Results
Mark Your Calendar for April 20
LHI Online Gift Shop
Jewish Exponent Online
February Yahrzeit
Enid Adler Honored
Listserv Reminders
Looking Ahead



Leyv Ha-Ir's Community Second Night of Passover Seder is always a treat. We'll be led by Spiritual Leader Jessi Roemer and the Leyv Ha-Ir Choir. Join us at The Philadelphian, 2401 Pennsylvania Avenue at 6:30 PM. A catered dinner will be included. Additional information will be available soon.   



APRIL 26 - 28 


Mark your calendar for the last weekend of April to attend LimmudPhilly 2013. This is the 5th annual learningfest, and the program is looking really good. It will again be a Friends Select School.  More info at 

Marking Lifecycle Events

Please remember Congregation Leyv Ha-Ir~Heart of the City when you have any occasion to send a greeting card to someone. 


While we are happy to receive contributions in any amount, for a minimum $10 contribution we will gladly send one of Marci Fleet's lovely art cards created for this purpose to the recipient of your choice.


Make a donation to your congregation and honor someone you care about at the same time. It might be a note of sympathy, a message of congratulations, get well, or a shout-out on a happy occasion. Sue Frank will gladly send along either one of Marci's cards, or one she will customize one based on your suggestions. Sue will also compose a note that carries your thought to the recipient.


Please use the 
contribution form on our website, which contains the mailing address for your contribution, PO Box 15836, Philadelphia PA 19103. You can also

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Contact Leyv Ha-Ir
Voice Mail:

February 2013
Dear Friend of Leyv Ha-Ir ~ Heart of the City,   


It's winter in Philadelphia, but in the Land of Israel, spring is beginning.  The almond trees are starting to bloom and a thin green carpet of newly sprouting grass, trees and flowers is starting to creep over the hills and plains.  Here we can look forward to Purim, on the way to spring, and to Passover, the quintessential spring holiday.  In the meantime, we are looking forward to seeing you at our forthcoming events.

Thank you,

Bobbi Cohen, Roby Jacobs, and Iris Newman

Your Executive Committee

LHI Calendar February 2013

Saturday, February 02, 10 AM, Shabbat Morning Service

Join us at the Ethical Society, 1906 S. Rittenhouse Square, Second Floor, for a lay-led service and discussion of the Torah portion. Stay and schmooze at our veggie potluck lunch.


Friday, February 08, 6:30 PM, Home Shabbat Service and Dinner

Join us at Iris Newman's home for a 45-minute lay-led service, followed by a veggie pot-luck dinner. Contact Iris at 215.561.0228 or email her to let her know you are coming or for more information.


Sunday, February 17, 11:00 AM, Bagels & Books Brunch 

Author Peter David Groen will talk about his book, "Jew Face: A Story of Love and Heroism in Nazi-occupied Holland." A delicious brunch will be served. $10 for members, $15 for all others. We will meet at a new location, salon of Maryanne Conheim, 2230 Pine Street on the southeast corner of 23rd and Pine Streets. See below for more information. 


Monday, February 18, 7:00 PM, Council Meeting

All members are invited to our Council meeting at Sandy Brown's home. Call 215.629.1995 for exact location.


Sunday, February 24, 2:00 PM, Purim Party  

Join us for our celebration of Purim. Wear one of our costumes or provide your own. Spiritual leader Jessi Roemer and Hazzan Jack Kessler will lead us. We'll be at the William Penn House Community Room, 1919 Chestnut St.

As part of the Kehillah of Center City we are invited to attend all of the events that are sponsored by the Kehillah and our larger community. To learn more about these events, check out the link to Center City Kehillah.


Take a complete look at Congregation Leyv Ha-Ir upcoming activities. 

Message from Our Spiritual Leader
Cantor Jessi
Letter from Jessi


Shalom Everyone!


During February we will transition between Jewish months: from the quiet awakening of Shvat to the frivolity of Adar -- the month of happiness and celebration of the physical world. In the midst of Adar comes Purim, the holiday on which we upend all norms, reveal what is hidden, and rejoice. It's the Jewish Mardi Gras!


Many of us have heard that on Purim we are supposed to drink and celebrate to the point where we don't know the difference between Mordechai and Haman, i.e., between good and evil. I've always assumed this instruction emerges from the practical nature of Judaism; the rabbis who codified the religion recognized the people's need to blow off steam! They knew that if they didn't sanction one day of wild behavior and celebration, the people would buck laws and norms all year long. And this may, indeed, have been part of their motivation.


But Dr. Hillel ben David offers a deeper explanation for celebrating oneself into such a different state of consciousness. He explains that Purim and Yom HaKippurim (Yom Kippur) are two sides of the same coin: On Yom Kippur, we approach God through the spiritual realm by fasting and praying. On Purim, we also approach God, but through the physical realm: by eating, drinking, and dancing.


But how, you may wonder, could eating and drinking to the point of losing our moral compass bring us closer to God?


Ben David asserts that difference between good and evil is an illusion. Our "knowledge" of this difference, i.e., judgment, clouds our awareness that the whole physical world - all of what we call "good" and what we call "evil" - comes from God. Adam and Eve had this awareness in Eden, before they ate from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. So when we get tipsy on Purim and momentarily cease to know good from evil, we can accept - even if just for a little while - that every single thing in our world is born of a Transcendent God. "Purim at its peak," says Ben David, "is like a taste of Eden" - before we ate from the Tree and began to deem some aspects of our world more God-like than others. Therefore, when we get to this tipsy state, rather than losing sight of God, we re-align our perspective to what it was in a perfect world, when we saw God everywhere.


Of course, the intent is not to lose one's judgment to the point of acting irresponsibly or hurting anyone. It is interesting and wonderful that on Purim, while we radically re-evaluate our ideas about good and evil, Judaism still instructs us to continue redressing the evils/imbalances we see in our world -- by giving tzedakah, bringing gifts to neighbors, clothing and feeding those who are in need. We operate on many levels simultaneously: We must see God in everything, and act to reveal God in the places where God is still hidden.


I encourage you, this Adar, to look for the hidden good in unexpected places; seek to bring it out. And in doing so, seek out your own taste of Eden.


Chodesh Adar and Chag Purim sameach!


Bagels & Books Coming Up
Jew Face book cover
Join Us on February 17

It will be a treat to have a Bagels and Books gathering again, this time with David Groen who will present his book "Jew Face:
A Story of Love and Heroism in Nazi Occupied Holland" about his parents' remarkable survival. David is a cousin of Roby Jacobs who has her own story and related documentations. We meet at 11:00 AM at the salon of Maryanne Conheim, 2230 Pine Street on the S.E. corner of  23rd and Pine Streets.  There is easy access by the #12 bus, and the location is across from Fitler Square. The charge of $10 ($15 for non-members) will give you brunch and the book presentation in a new, very pleasing environment.

Roby Jacobs
POWER Update
Power Logo
An Update


The Leadership Retreat of POWER took place at Congregation Rodeph Shalom on Thursday, January 10, 2013. Leyv Ha-Ir members Patricia Saddier, Susan Thompson, and John Mason took part. The Reverend Dwayne Royster, Executive Director of POWER, spoke of the tradition of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. collaborating with Rabbi Dr. Abraham Joshua Heschel during the Civil Rights movement.

Liz Manlin, of Congregation Kol Tzedek in west Philadelphia, gave an overview of POWER's activities since the founding convention of September 2011; the group's delivering of postcards, the public demonstrations, get-out-the-vote drives, petition drives, and the meetings with public officials. These actions have resulted in statements of support from Mayor Michael Nutter and members of City Council on the hiring of local workers for the expansion project at the Philadelphia International Airport. The Reverend Zack Ritvalsky, of Sweet Union Baptist Church, spoke of the problem of gun violence, the increase in homicide from firearms and of the closing of Philadelphia public schools, primarily in minority communities.

Royster announced plans for a massive POWER public event on Sunday, April 21, which will bring four thousand people, and he urges member congregations to commit to bringing a certain number of people to this event. Leyv-Ha-Ir has pledged to bring 45 people.

A separate educational strategy training took place on Saturday, January 26, 2013. Rabbi Julie and Susan Thompson represented LHI.  Liz Sullivan, a trainer and leader for PICO (Power's parent group), taught those in attendance how to conduct 1:1 interviews with parents and how to work to strengthen relationships between congregations and local schools.  During the next months faith-based teams will be working with principals and parents in the following schools: Fulton, Nebinger, Spring Garden and Universal Bluford. LHI will work with other congregations at Spring Garden School. Affliation with PCAPS (Philadelphia Coalition Advocating for Public Schools) is also being explored. If you are interested in finding out more about this, contact Susan Thompson at

~John Mason and Susan Thompson


A lively meeting was held January 15 at Rodeph Shalom to discuss progress on the refurbishment of the Spring Garden School library. Leyv Ha-Ir is currently in the process of purchasing summer reading books for the students to take home.

Time to roll up the sleeves and get to work for spring cleaning of inventory at its library; Saturdays, February 9 and February 23 have been set aside for such a purpose. Times allotted are 1 to 4 PM. This is a good opportunity to meet others in the community who are interested in the much needed project. Contact Bev Hayden, or Susan Thompson, if you are interested in lending a hand.

~by Beverly Hayden

A Very Successful ALLIES Campaign 

Evy Simon graciously hosted a tea to support our new library project, ALLIES.  Twelve folks attended this lovely afternoon event. In total, the project to raise money for the Spring Garden School generated donations of $1045.00 with 23 members participating.

Thanks for your support! This will enable us to buy many books for students who may
now have summer reading materials to take home with them.
Mark Your Calendar for April 20!
Cocktail party for salon
A Special Salon Fundraising Evening

A very special evening is being planned for your entertainment. Joan and Phil Steel have graciously offered their gorgeous home as the venue to present the SALON, an evening of entertainment and elegant food. This is a "first", not to missed, one--of-a-kind event to raise revenue for  Congregation Leyv Ha-Ir ~ Heart of the City. More details to follow!
Visit Our Gift Shop
Without Leaving Home

gift box Need a gift for someone else, or for yourself?  Take a look at the beautiful offerings in the Leyv Ha-Ir Online Gift Shop, all handmade by LHI member Beryl Kravetz. Choose from T-shirts, tote bags, jewelry and more. And what an easy way to support your community from the comfort of your own home!

Click here to go to the gift shop. Please be patient as it may take a couple of minutes to open.
Jewish Exponent Online
Jewish Exponent JE logo
Check Out the New Look

The Jewish Exponent, the Philadelphia area's Jewish weekly newspaper, has expanded its online presence. Whether or not you are a subscriber to the print edition, you can go to to read the latest news and get information on many facets of Jewish life on the local, national and international front. There is also a new calendar function where you can find many, many, activities going on in our community. If you register on the site you will have access to advanced functions to search for calendar events.

"The Exponent" has been generous in providing LHI and other Jewish organizations the ability to load our events right onto their website.
February Yahrzeit

yahrzeit May This Soul be Bound in the Book of Eternal Light:


Joan Rumberg  




Enid Adler Honored
for her International Criminal Court Work

Enid AdlerOur congregant, Enid H. Adler was recently profiled in the Philadelphia Inquirer.  Before posting the article, Enid asked that we print the following:

"I am an active member of and participant in the NGO Coalition for the International Criminal Court, and have been since 1998. It was this Coalition of civil society organizations that was instrumental, working with nations of the world, in establishing the Court at the 1998 Treaty Conference in Rome."

Philadelphia's Enid H. Adler marks first decade of International Criminal Court, which she helped create December 04, 2012|By Jeff Gammage, Inquirer Staff Writer

"She was a guest of Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, but it wasn't royal connections that landed Philadelphia lawyer Enid H. Adler at the Hague. It was her years of work in helping to create a forum where others might seek justice.

Adler's life as a teacher, journalist, and advocate for people fleeing persecution drove her to help establish the International Criminal Court, founded in 2002 for the prosecution of war crimes across the globe. Adler, semiretired and battling cancer, traveled to the Netherlands to take part in the official ceremonies last month marking the 10th anniversary of a permanent, independent, international court.

Adler is known in Philadelphia legal and activist circles for her belief that all people deserve dignity, no matter their station or standing,and her determination to turn that vision into reality.

A series of seminars marking the anniversary - and connecting the court's goals to the Constitution written in Philadelphia - are being held here through Adler's persistence. She pushed to create the Philadelphia Global Initiative on the Rule of Law, uniting the Temple University Law School, the International Law Committee of the Philadelphia Bar Association, and the U.N. Association of Greater Philadelphia as sponsors."
Leyv Ha-Ir Listserv Reminders
faithways illustration

To Post a Message - just send an email to


Leyv Ha-Ir Event Postings - will be posted by Beverly Hayden using the information on our web calendar.


Other Event Postings - You can post information about other events or information of interest by sending an email to


Contact Beverly or Bobbi if there are questions about the listserv.